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Brussels - 19 March 2019
At a crucial turning point regarding the sustainability of sugar beet growing and in an unprecedented EU sugar market crisis, with sugar and beet prices at record lows, CIBE President Eric Lainé highlighted at today’s High Level Group on Sugar the 3 major challenges that sugar beet growers have to face: productivity & competitiveness, resilience and adjustment to markets. CIBE urges the EU Institutions to take concrete action so as to:
• Support sustainability progress in beet growing, in particular with regards to plant protection products, with environmental & economic impact assessments, risk-based decisions with appropriate timing and accompanying measures in terms of innovation and research & development;
• Set-up, as a matter of urgency, workable risk management tools (for example the Income Stabilisation Tool) and safety nets (for example sugar to ethanol scheme and supply control scheme) for sugar beet growers to manage highly volatile markets and market crises;
• Strengthen the position of sugar beet growers’ organizations in the supply chain;
• Further improve transparency on the sugar and high sugar content products markets as well as on isoglucose and ethanol markets;
• Oppose further market access concessions and stop third countries from dumping sugar on world markets.
CIBE President Eric Lainé stated: “European beet growers deplore the time lost and the wait and see strategy of the EU Institutions; we can only observe the major damage of these two years without quotas on our sector. Such a waste! What a destruction of value for our farms and our industry! Today the sector is planning to close factories in competitive regions, forced to decide hastily, to put pressure on sugar beet growers, whilst we should build on our strengths to maintain this sector of excellence”. Furthermore, the recent decisions regarding the toolbox for plant protection and the lack of availability of sustainable alternatives put at risk the investments of the past decade and the ability of the sector to attract further investments. “It is time to act based on reason rather than on ideology, to be pragmatic and to look forward so as to be able to further attract innovation as well as young beet growers to our sector” added CIBE President Eric Lainé.
Press Release - Contact: Elisabeth Lacoste, Director, International Confederation of European Beet Growers (CIBE)